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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Definition of "Magic" (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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kregg
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Add a pinch of salt and BAMM!!!
POOF!
tommy
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A) The effect that is seen by the spectator (Colour change) is what causes the effect in the spectators mind (Imagines the effect he saw was caused by a magic force). That is pure magic.

(b) The effect that is seen by the spectator (Colour change) is what causes the effect in the spectators mind (Imagines the effect he saw was caused by the magician). That is a pure trick.

(c) The effect that is seen by the spectator (Colour change) is what causes the effect in the spectators mind (Imagines the effect he saw was caused either by the magician or a magic force). That is a dilemma.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Tommy, you are working very hard on the syntax yet keeping some unnecessary language in place.

How does this work for you?
The performer's job is to get the audience to perceive a color change (of what?) caused by the will of the magician.

Notice the magician term exists as a character in the story experienced by the audience. The performer is the person doing the work to bring the story and the audience together. Later on, when asked for a report, the audience will offer their experience which we call the effect.
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Whit Haydn
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Oh, Jon. That is so well put! Thank you.

The magician is a character--in fact the protagonist--in a story about magic that involves the spectator. The spectator is the story teller:

"I went up on stage with this really strange man and he..."

"I met this guy in the bar see, and he was like some genius chemist. He had this white powder that could make you young. He put some on a dead fly..."

"I saw David Copperfield once, and they chose me and my friend..."

"My folks took me to this restaurant once, and this magician came up to our table. He borrowed my mother's wedding ring..."

"So the guy shows this totally bogus device, which he says is a Teleportation Device, but then..."

We are the Coyote. People tell stories about us.
JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2006-05-12 19:19, bishthemagish wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-05-12 18:18, JackScratch wrote:
Incorrect. Magic is the sum of the efforts of a good magician. The effect is a part of that sum. It is not the whole of the sum. The effect is, in fact, a smaller part of the sum. An effect alone, no matter how good, is worthless. Without proper presentation, it is not magic. Magic in this instance being defined as the goal of our particular trade.

Incorrect. Incorrect. Incorrect.

Magic IS THE Effect. Without the magic effect or the effect of magic in the mind of the audience the magician might as well call themselves a juggler.

An effect alone is not worthless. Start with the effect - then come up with a method and then the mumbo jumbo is added. To help hide the method and then a presentation is added and hopefully that makes the whole thing entertaining.


And do you have a clever title for one who is all effect and no performance? What do you call someone, completely uncomfortable in front of people, unable to touch peoples hearts, who does "tricks"? Agreed, without the effect it is not magic, but lets be fair, it is far from magic without a performance. I know. I've seen it.
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Quote:
On 2006-05-12 21:20, JackScratch wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-05-12 19:19, bishthemagish wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-05-12 18:18, JackScratch wrote:
Incorrect. Magic is the sum of the efforts of a good magician. The effect is a part of that sum. It is not the whole of the sum. The effect is, in fact, a smaller part of the sum. An effect alone, no matter how good, is worthless. Without proper presentation, it is not magic. Magic in this instance being defined as the goal of our particular trade.

Incorrect. Incorrect. Incorrect.

Magic IS THE Effect. Without the magic effect or the effect of magic in the mind of the audience the magician might as well call themselves a juggler.

An effect alone is not worthless. Start with the effect - then come up with a method and then the mumbo jumbo is added. To help hide the method and then a presentation is added and hopefully that makes the whole thing entertaining.


And do you have a clever title for one who is all effect and no performance? What do you call someone, completely uncomfortable in front of people, unable to touch peoples hearts, who does "tricks"? Agreed, without the effect it is not magic, but lets be fair, it is far from magic without a performance. I know. I've seen it.


You two need to decide on a common definition of "effect" and "magic." As it stands, you are arguing at cross purposes and not making sense.

What is "Magic?"
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2006-05-12 21:20, JackScratch wrote:

And do you have a clever title for one who is all effect and no performance? What do you call someone, completely uncomfortable in front of people, unable to touch peoples hearts, who does "tricks"? Agreed, without the effect it is not magic, but lets be fair, it is far from magic without a performance. I know. I've seen it.

What is a magic effect? Say I wanted to vanish a playing card as a magic effect. Then I would choose a method to vanish a playing card. The method might be the back palm or the Dai Vernon slow motion card vanish. Or perhaps a silly method that would work in a black art program such as painting the back of the card black and then vanishing the card with black art.

All the methods work to vanish the playing card and are a way to make a playing card vanish into thin air - the effect. Once I choose the EFFECT then I choose the method to GET THE "MAGIC EFFECT".

But a magic effect it CAN stand on it's own and that IS what makes magic different from any other performing art. The magic effect is the desired goal. And the magic effect is not usually done as a means to an end to tell a theater story.

The story often exists as a means to an end to get the "MAGIC EFFECT".

Quote:
On 2006-05-12 21:37, Whit Haydn wrote:
You two need to decide on a common definition of "effect" and "magic." As it stands, you are arguing at cross purposes and not making sense.

What is "Magic?"


What is magic? I wrote a lot about that in this thread and all they need to do is to read it to find out what my theory of what is magic - is.
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JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2006-05-12 21:58, bishthemagish wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-05-12 21:20, JackScratch wrote:

And do you have a clever title for one who is all effect and no performance? What do you call someone, completely uncomfortable in front of people, unable to touch peoples hearts, who does "tricks"? Agreed, without the effect it is not magic, but lets be fair, it is far from magic without a performance. I know. I've seen it.

What is a magic effect? Say I wanted to vanish a playing card as a magic effect. Then I would choose a method to vanish a playing card. The method might be the back palm or the Dai Vernon slow motion card vanish. Or perhaps a silly method that would work in a black art program such as painting the back of the card black and then vanishing the card with black art.

All the methods work to vanish the playing card and are a way to make a playing card vanish into thin air - the effect. Once I choose the EFFECT then I choose the method to GET THE "MAGIC EFFECT".

But a magic effect it CAN stand on it's own and that IS what makes magic different from any other performing art. The magic effect is the desired goal. And the magic effect is not usually done as a means to an end to tell a theater story.

The story often exists as a means to an end to get the "MAGIC EFFECT".

Quote:
On 2006-05-12 21:37, Whit Haydn wrote:
You two need to decide on a common definition of "effect" and "magic." As it stands, you are arguing at cross purposes and not making sense.

What is "Magic?"


What is magic? I wrote a lot about that in this thread and all they need to do is to read it to find out what my theory of what is magic - is.


While I'm with Glenn on the subject of sifting through this thread and finding what I've writen before on the subgect of defenition, I still disgree with his assesment. To begin with, a performance, and a story are two different things, but a performance can easily be a story. A trick executed by a person with no performance abiltiy is not magic. You are wrong. Magic is the sum of the total performance, including, but not limited to the effect or "trick". You can't have magic without the effect, but you can no more have magic without the performance. There must be something for the audience to relate to, get into. Ther must be some variety of style, or there will be no "magic". I can pull my thumb off, that's an effect, but it's not magic. I can be though. I've never done it, but even something as simple as pulling off the thumb can be made magic.
tommy
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Quote:
On 2006-05-12 20:21, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Tommy, you are working very hard on the syntax yet keeping some unnecessary language in place.

How does this work for you?
The performer's job is to get the audience to perceive a color change (of what?) caused by the will of the magician.


I agree in part: The performer's job is to get the audience to perceive a magical effect, say a colour change for example.
I do not see that the spectator perceives such effects as caused by the will of the magician. He observes the magician make physical moves. The magician pantomimes applying an invisible force on the card that causes the card to change colour. He dose not see the magician simply look at the card as if he has “willed” the card to change colour.

Quote:
Notice the magician term exists as a character in the story experienced by the audience. The performer is the person doing the work to bring the story and the audience together. Later on, when asked for a report, the audience will offer their experience which we call the effect.



No I do not agree.
I see the magician as playing the part of a great magician who posses a magic force that has power. Magic is doing the work and not the magician. The magician demonstrates the power of the magic that he posses. He does that that by imitating the magic forces effects. Sometimes he might tell a story to make what he is showing interesting and entertaining. Whatever he does the story is, it's about what magic can do. The colour change is about what magic can do. The magician is playing a the part of character of one who possesses a magic force that has power. That's why the less he is seen to do the better, the best colour change is the one where he appears to do no work: “He only passed his hand over the card and it changed!”

The spectator imagines this magic force to exist at the moment he observes the effect that he has perceived. The spectator reacts at that moment. He is stunned for want of better word because he has just seen what he did not think was possible. He has not seen the impossible, he seen what is possible and he is amazed. Magic has, at that moment, become a reality, in his mind. Then a moment later he comes to his senses and tries to figure it out because his common sense tells him there is no such thing as magic. But he can’t figure it out and concludes it was a good trick - or maybe magic.

The magician can use all the tricks of acting but what he is acting is a magician who posses the magic force that has power. Sometimes he might pass a little magic force to a spectator and tell him how to use it. When you posses power you don’t do the work the power does.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
JackScratch
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Tommy, you are talking about one possible type of performance and/or character from potentialy millions. Not all magicians play the part of a magician. Many play the fool. Some play the target of magic from some other source. There are many different types of magicians. Often times the story a magician tells is not about the effect, it can be about something unrelated to the effect and the effect becomes an abstract demonstration of an element of the story.

Much of the arguements being made here take a very simplistic view on our art. Asside from being incorrect, it is quite disheartening. I hope you guys create greater things than your arguements here lead me to believe.
Bilwonder
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Theater is ubiquitous.
It's everywhere. Magic isn't.
Theater is part of the structure of human relations. From Public speaking to courtship. The elements of theater are touted and utilized (poorly or well) to hold and maintain attention (unless you want to narrowly define Theatre as a production group or building...which has little to do with our topic). We walk the streets. We may or may not announce ourselves. We don't need to cloth ourselves the the theatre or even engender it's umbrella.

The structure of drama (the 'story') is also ubiquitous. It present in how we recall EVERY human interaction (even mere observation). Magic, by it's definition is NOT apparent everywhere. Magical "things" may be all around, but humans group observation into "common expectations." Magic is the alien. It does not embrace the others. It stands apart.

Magic is based on surprise or the unexpected, In fact, I considered surprise itself the basest form of Magic. It underlies even sophisticated forms. Surprise itself is the only form of magic intelligible to the underdeveloped. It is no less magic to them even if the element of "magic" is not apparent to the sophisticated. It taps the sense of limitation and boundaries of the spectator.

This "tapping the boundaries" creates a sense of the "alien" or "alienation" in the spectator. What was not, now IS. This happening does not fit into his view of the world. Magic has the unique "alienating" factor in that it forces the spectator to deal with something "beyond their boundaries." There is an element of fear in the unknown and it can produce screams or nervous laughter. Spectators "jump back." It is "alien" and they don't know how to categorize it. This is the element of "between the horn" in that the mind finds no place to rest. However, it is the nature of this monster to possibly have many horns. That is why it can be unsettling.

Magicians use techniques of theatre to "draw" the spectator in. But that is not the element of magic. The magic is the alien and it will alienate. Using theatre to get them to let down their guard, we are able to "smack them harder" (or the borders of their "reality"). We are discussing very useful stuff in understanding how to better integrate theatre with magic. But they still do not define the magic. Only make it more powerful by making it more personal.
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JackScratch
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But magic is everywhere, and in everything. If magic is surprise, and surprise is magic, then how can anything not be magic, for surely a person could be surprised by anything. This world is full of zombies, sleepwalkers. People who look around everyday and see nothing beutiful. If you can pierce the vale that covers their eyes, they can be surprised by anything. I agree with the business of showing people a different world, but it takes a whole lot more than a "trick".
tommy
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Jack

Not all magicians play the part of a great magician which is why not all magicians are great. What is really sad is you do not understand that.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Folks, it helps to start with a simple example.

Tommy was working with an example of presenting a color change.

It also helps civil discourse to keep the "mind reading" to a minimum, ie if you want to know what someone means, ask them.


***** rest of text is a little dense, sorry I'm grouchy from reading the bickering ***


Likewise for being explicit as opposed to using pronouns where possible. Then we get to undefined terms like "magic". That's a tough one for now. Can we go with "the perception of magic" instead? While on that subject, perhaps we can also make explicit the frame of reference for a statement where that is not obvious to a casual reader. Even the term "magician" has issues in this sense as one could well ask "A magician according to whom?" and thus force the basic issues of "they said they are (self) a magician" and "I saw them do magic so they must be a magician". Likewise we get stuck when admitting the notion of will into this discussion. Phenomena without will are natural. What distinguishes the natural from what we call magic in stories is the application of will. Somebody (or something if you must) WILLS these unusual events into being. The somebody would be a magician and the something would be a supernatural creature.
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tommy
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To me it seems that the spectator observes a physical effect, such as a colour change, and based on his speculative or abstract reasoning he thinks it was caused by a metaphysical power. It is the magicians task to create in the mind of the spectator speculative or abstract reasoning by creating magical effects. The metaphysical power that the spectator has imagined could be the will power of the magician I suppose.

I find the magic wand interesting and this seems to support, unless I am mistaken, what Jon says about the will:

“Your Own Wand”
“Before you can use a magic wand, you need to purchase or make one. Traditionally the wand is the length of the users arm, from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow. However there is no set rule that says your wand had to be a certain size, If you are more comfortable with a smaller size, then that is right for you. Making your own wand is one of the most powerful things you can do. By making your own tools, you charge them with your personal power and therefore they will work better for you! From it's conception it is charged with your vibrations, your energy and your thoughts. It will reflect a part of you.”

http://sacred-pathways.com/Wands.html
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2006-05-13 07:32, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Likewise we get stuck when admitting the notion of will into this discussion. Phenomena without will are natural. What distinguishes the natural from what we call magic in stories is the application of will. Somebody (or something if you must) WILLS these unusual events into being. The somebody would be a magician and the something would be a supernatural creature.


Well said Jon.

And so I add - What is magic? To me it is the experience of a "Magic Effect"! Done by the "WILL" of a magician.

The audience experience of the magic effect while watching a magic show or a magician perform.

The late Jack Gwynne said that the magician or the magic effect is just two things. That is that a magician can make things appear and vanish.

Blackstone broke the magic effect or the Effects of Magic down into - Production, Vanish, Transposition, Transformation, Restoration, Animation, Penetration, Anti-gravity, Sympathetic-Reaction and Time Control.

I break them down into - Production, Vanish, Anti-Gravity and see the others listed as just a variation on the above three Effects.
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tommy
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Yes Glen thanks for the break down of the effects but I'm having a problem thinking how mind reading effects fit into the definition of magic. "Sympathetic-Reaction" what does that mean? I have never heard of that one.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Thanks Glenn,

I break the effect down to "whatever the audiece says happened".

That way I know what they got from the offering and can refine the work till what they say happened is what I want them to believe happened. Smile

I feel we are doing ourselves a diservice when we forget about the story as percieved by the audience and try to collapse their view of things into a version of our side of things. The actor is not living the story. The audience is seeing a presentation from which they internally reconstruct the story. Smile

If we get our scripting right, then our presentation works, they audience will come away with the story we want them to have when they tell others.

:)
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Quote:
On 2006-05-13 10:07, bishthemagish wrote:
I break them down into - Production, Vanish, Anti-Gravity and see the others listed as just a variation on the above three Effects.


If you added, "...variation and/or combination." The phrase would seem more complete.
POOF!
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2006-05-13 11:02, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Thanks Glenn,

I break the effect down to "whatever the audience says happened".

That way I know what they got from the offering and can refine the work till what they say happened is what I want them to believe happened. Smile

If we get our scripting right, then our presentation works, they audience will come away with the story we want them to have when they tell others.

Thanks Jon. We also must take into account the fact of what happened on the stage is different than the effect that is generated in the spectator’s mind for the moment the magic effect happened. Often they will use their own imagination and invent there own “BETTER” story of the magic effect that they will tell others. And have their own way of telling the story that can make the effect seem even more amazing.

Quote:
On 2006-05-13 10:58, tommy wrote:
Yes Glen thanks for the break down of the effects but I'm having a problem thinking how mind reading effects fit into the definition of magic. "Sympathetic-Reaction" what does that mean? I have never heard of that one.

According to Blackstone "Sympathetic-Reaction" is magic or suggestion through ritual. The art or science of the ancient wizards, high priests, like sticking pins into people, and other stunts (breaking wood boards in karate) that comes down to the art of suggestion that is often called today hypnotism.

I also left out escapes and Mentalism that is also called telling the future or fortune telling or as religion calls it Divination.

Quote:
On 2006-05-13 10:07, bishthemagish wrote:
I break them down into - Production, Vanish, Anti-Gravity and see the others listed as just a variation on the above three Effects.

On 2006-05-13 11:07, kregg wrote:

If you added, "...variation and/or combination." The phrase would seem more complete.

Thank you Kregg.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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